Market Entry to Japan

De-risk market entry into Japan through our proven, structured approach

The Programme

Rainmaking Expand: Japan is a market entry programme for startups and SMEs looking to expand and de-risk entry into the Japanese market. We do this by collaboratively working with your company to strategically validate the best method for your business to enter into Japan and support the execution by connecting and building commercial opportunities.

Companies in the programme will go through three phases, adapted to your specific needs, readiness and schedule. We do this because we understand that market expansion cannot be timeboxed and can vary between each company. In the programme, you and your team will work closely with an Expand Lead—who will guide your overall development and expansion— as well as a Partnerships Lead—who will connect you to our broader network in-market to generate strong business leads and support your expansion with the goal to achieve commercial success.

Programme Timeline

We are currently preparing to open this programme soon. When we do, we will be accepting companies like yours into the programme, focusing on flexible and dynamic approaches to the Japanese market, which is inline with both your company plans and with the opportunities discovered in-market.

Startups and SMEs who join this programme will go through three phases: Go-To-Market Review, Go-To-Market Execution and Post-Programme Support. The time spent in Phase 1 and Phase 2 will depend on your timeline, market readiness and identified opportunities. After connecting with various commercial leads and making progress towards commercial agreements in Phase 2, companies are able to access 18 months of post-programme support in Phase 3.

Phase 1

Go-To-Market Review: De-Risk Your Market Entry

This phase focuses on working with your company to identify a clear understanding of the market potential for your business in Japan and validate your market entry.

The process for this is tailored for every company as we recognise that no two market entry strategies are the same.

Therefore we will adapt the process to your unique situation while also utilising our proven methodology to:

  • Identify assumptions on the business model
  • (re)Define the customer segments and the value proposition best suited to them
  • Master a clear presentation for Japan

This phase can take 1 – 2 months to complete.

Phase 2

Go-To-Market Execution: Validate Commercial Opportunities

This phase focuses on the execution of the Go-To-Market strategy. During this phase, we focus on connecting with key players within Japan and developing relationships with potential partners.

You can expect us to collaborate and navigate introductions which can lead to commercial outcomes while also:

  • Confirming and executing the expansion strategy
  • Generating high value market counterpart introductions
  • Creating high potential opportunities
  • Achieving concrete commercial engagements

This phase can take 2 – 6 months to complete.

Phase 3

Post-Programme Support: Commercial Engagement Development

After completing Phase 1 and 2, your company will move into Phase 3 which focuses on post-programme support. Phase 3 consists of regular check-ins and ad-hoc business introductions when we identify new potential leads in relation to your business needs.

In order to maximise your success in Japan, this post-programme support is tailored to your needs and requirements.

This phase is available for 18 months after the completion of Phase 2.

Selection Process


This programme will be opening for applications soon.
If you are interested in joining, or considering market expansion please register your interest below to meet our team and discuss your expansion.


If your application passes the initial stages, you’ll be invited to an online call for further review. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the programme, and for us to better understand how we might support your expansion goals.

Internal Review

Upon completing the interview, our team internally reviews your company and your expansion plans for Japan.

Agreement Review

Upon a successful selection for the programme, we work with you to decide the best timing for your entry into the market and enter the agreement process review to align expectations and outcomes for the programme.

Why Japan?

Welcomes International Startups

Japan welcomes high potential startups like yours through various initiatives supporting innovation projects and the National Strategic Special Zones established.

Rapid Growth

Japan is rapidly moving forwards to implement technologies to assist with the achievement of innovation in multiple sectors. All these elements have been driven forwards by the government and through Japanese companies, turning towards innovation to bring about a new age.

Large Development Projects

As the UmeKita project, 2025 World Expo and other development projects approach, Japan is investing in technologies to support these projects. Not only are these huge projects driving Japan to innovate, but the government is in the middle of a large technology and innovation push to drive the creation and expansion of more technologies. Entering the Japanese marketing right now is the perfect timing to catch a wave of opportunity.

Engaged & loyal market

Japanese are engaged and loyal, with many foreign companies successfully penetrating the market. Slack: Most daily active users outside of US, 12.5% of global DAU. Amazon: #1 E-commerce platform, 20.2% market share. Salesforce: 2nd largest Salesforce economy, 20% of global CRM revenue.

Highest offshore M&A in Asia

In 2018, Japan announced more than 1,000 offshore acquisitions totalling a record $191 billion. And with companies in possession of more than $890 billion in cash, the spending spree is likely to continue.

Proximity to Key Asian Markets

Located in Northeast Asia, Japan acts as a launchpad for accessing 2 billion tech-savvy potential customers and the rest of Asia.


Coco & Lucas

Through multiple tasting sessions with food-related insiders, vegans, vegetarians and standard eaters, Coco & Lucas was able to collect deep insights into the evaluations and opinions related to vegan and vegetarian food within the Japanese market. These insights were able to provide insights for product development suitable for the Japanese market and created opportunities for commercial outcomes with a potential Japanese partner.

The programme has been very rewarding with the wealth of knowledge and expertise shared by the mentors and the team. As an entrepreneur it has given me the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to do business in Japan through the amazing sessions put together by the team with amazing industry experts who have experience working in Japan and with large companies.

— Diem Fuggersberger, CEO & Founder, Coco & Lucas


Within the Japanese market, Transreport ran two PoCs with two of the largest railway operators in Osaka to test implementation and interaction with their Passenger Assistance app. The focus was streamlining the communication between station staff and disabled passengers, while also significantly improving passengers’ travelling experiences, knowing they will be fully assisted as needed along the way. The results of the PoC were incredibly positive with next steps in active discussion for further expansion into the Japanese market.

The Transreport team has thoroughly enjoyed the program. Expanding our network, through meeting various partners and mentors on the program, has initiated new conversations about how we can use the technology we develop. The team delivered on access to important stakeholders with decades of industry knowledge in transportation, which will allow us to better facilitate our integration into the Japanese market.

— Jay Shen, CEO, Transreport

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We are currently preparing to open the applications for this programme. If you are interested in joining this programme, please register your interest in our form below. We will notify you as soon as the applications are open.

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